In preparation for GDPR, a comprehensive EU data protection law, a few big-name social media companies have taken the time to review their privacy policies, making it easier for users to know where and how their information is being used.
Facebook has made some changes to its privacy settings in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Mr. Zuckerberg’s congressional hearings. While it is not changing the information that the company collects from its users, it is making strides toward greater transparency on what that information is and how that is shared. It created a central hub with a more user-friendly interface to enable people to more easily see what data they are sharing and who can see it.
Additionally, the social network will make it easier for users to see all the data that the company has on them – previously, this could be accessed by a massive data dump download, however the new Access Your Information tool allows individuals to explore the information by category.
LinkedIn has adapted its policy to enable members to download their personal data, and it has followed up on GDPR’s right to erasure, by clarifying that personal data such as audience email addresses will be automatically deleted within a 90 day time frame if it is not edited or being used in active campaigns.
If you are active on any social media networks, be sure to take a proactive approach and review your privacy settings, as well as the availability of your personal data.
This article was written by Kristina Weber at Centry Ltd. For more content like this, subscribe to Centry Blog and follow us on Twitter @CentryLTD!
The South China Sea is a critically important trade route of the world, with an estimated $5-trillion worth of goods passing through yearly, which amounts to about 30% of global maritime trade. In addition to that, there are vast oil and natural gas reserves under the sea, and it is the site of lucrative fishing grounds, providing the main source of animal protein for the densely populated southeast Asia.
For all of its resources and strategic value, the South China Sea is highly contentious. Several sovereign states all have varying claims over different sectors of the waterway and the islands therein, whereas non-claimant states advocate for the South China Sea to remain international waters.
These maritime and territorial disputes are complex and sprawling in their nature. To better grasp the greater picture of the situation, we’ve broken it down into a few sections.
The prime areas of contention in the South China Sea include the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, and various boundaries in the Gulf of Tonkin. Each claimant nation wants something specific, and they all have their individual justifications for what they want. The main players in the territorial disputes have been China, Taiwan, Vietnam, The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.
China depicts its claims to the South China Sea using the map of the nine-dash line, a vague demarcation line that was inspired by a December 1947 then-Republic of China (1912-1949) map with eleven segments. After the Communist Party of China formed the PRC, the claim was amended to the “nine-dash line” that we know today. The U-shape of it can be observed in Image 1 above.
Taiwan (ROC) also uses the 1947 map it as a basis for their own claim to the contested waters, because it was published before the PRC was established. Taiping Island, also known as Itu Aba Island, is the largest isle of the Spratly group and it remains steadfastly in Taiwan’s control. As one of the world’s biggest seafood exporters, Taiwan’s interests in the region are connected to fishing and oil.
Vietnam’s claim over the Paracel and Spratly islands was first established in a White Paper issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1974, with historical evidence as a basis for the claims. It has been a vocal opponent of China’s historical claim over the South China Sea, asserting that China had never claimed sovereignty over the islands before the 1940s, whereas Vietnam had actively ruled over both the Paracel and the Spratly Islands since the 17th Century.
However, tensions between China and Vietnam have been de-escalating ahead of agreements to resolve their disputes. In April 2018, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave an announcement that China and Vietnam are moving toward a settlement agreement on the status of their claims in the South China Sea.
The Philippines has historically cited its geographical proximity to the Spratly Islands as the main basis of its claim to the Scarborough Shoal, however its President Rodrigo Duterte has avoided aggressive rhetoric on the issue, saying that he “will not impose anything on China.”
This came after the July 2016 international arbitration that ruled China could not legally claim most of the South China Sea – including a rebuke of the nation’s manmade islands. Although China is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, it refused to accept the court’s authority on this case.
Malaysia has claimed seven islands in the Spratly group, of which two are also claimed by Vietnam and one by the Philippines. Thus, it has occupied the remaining four and constructed mini-naval stations to reinforce its claim.
Brunei by contrast is sometimes referred to as a “silent claimant” of the South China Sea, however it first asserted rights shortly after gaining independence from Britain in 1984. Its principal interests revolve around the development of offshore oil and natural gas fields – both within its EEZ and outside of its territorial waters. Its claim is on Louisa Reef, which is on its continental shelf, however the Louisa Reef is also part of the Spratly islands, a feature claimed by both China and Vietnam.
Recently, Indonesiaramped up the territorial disputes by renaming the northernmost waters of its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea to the North Natuna Sea, despite China’s claims to the area. Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, suggested that the renaming of the waterway helped to make it “sound more Indonesian.” It has increasingly conducted aggressive posturing in the area, including a military buildup on nearby Natuna Islands and deployment of naval warships.
For decades, Indonesia’s official policy has maintained that it is not party to any territorial disputes with China on the South China Sea, yet in 2016, the two countries had three maritime skirmishes, including warning shots and a situation where Indonesian warships seized a Chinese fishing boat and its crew.
China’s Manmade Islands
In recent years, China has been building various ports, runways, and radar facilities on manmade islands throughout the South China Sea. CSIS Satellite images from 2016 depict large anti-aircraft guns and weapons systems as well.
These man-made islands have been constructed by dredging sand on to reefs in an effort to boost China’s claim to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. China had previously committed to not militarizing the islands, however the CSIS imagery suggests otherwise. Nonetheless, the PRC government maintains that the islands are for maritime safety and civilian purposes.
The Situation at Present
On April 11th, 2018, the Chinese navy began a 3-day drill near its main submarine base in what analysts described as a message to other nations in the area that it was capable of defending its territorial and maritime interests. This display came right as an American strike group, led by the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, conducted its own exercises in the South China Sea. The United States maintains that the South China Sea is international water, and therefore the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea should determine sovereignty in the area.
These exercises additionally overlapped with a week-long series of live-fire drills involving the aircraft carrier Liaoning, near the venue for the BOAO Forum for Asia. On the sidelines of the forum, senior fellow Oh Ei Sun said that all the surrounding countries were concerned by the military exercises in the region. This area is significant because it has several underwater channels and straits that could allow China’s submarine fleet to break through the United States’ first and second island chain blockades. Although the location for these specific demonstrations was in a less sensitive area than the South China Sea, it nonetheless served as a means for China to illustrate its military might to the other claimants involved in the disputes.
PRC President Xi Jinping presided over the Chinese navy’s largest military display on April 12th, 2018. The state broadcaster, China Central Television, showed footage of Xi boarding the destroyer Changsha before sailing to an unspecified location in the South China Sea to watch the procession. China’s armed forces are in the middle of a modernization program, and the subsequent military buildup has seemingly unnerved its neighbors, particularly due to the increasing assertiveness on the territorial disputes of the South China Sea.
China intended on holding live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Straits on April 18th, however, it was reported that the drill scaled down in an effort to reduce tensions. The Taiwanese military similarly cancelled a scheduled cannon drill.
The probability of South China Sea disputes leading to an outbreak of hostilities is unlikely, however since China has continued to pursue its territorial and maritime claims, the potential for escalating small-scale skirmishes cannot be ruled out. Furthermore, any escalations in the trade corridor may have an impact on the global economy, particularly if sanctions become involved.
This article was written by Kristina Weber of Centry Ltd. For more content like this, follow @CentryLTD on Twitter!
It’s a beautiful, sunny day with clear blue skies and a gentle, warm breeze. The sand is soft between your toes, and rippling turquoise waters stretch out endlessly toward the horizon. For the first time in who-knows-how-long, your thoughts are free of the mental load they ordinarily bear, and just for this moment, you are centered in the here and now.
Until you go to take a picture, and realize that your camera is missing.
Theft is just one of the most common threats faced while traveling, and the consequences can range from a minor inconvenience to something severe. Any number of things could go wrong during your travels, but if you take the appropriate cautionary steps, you can minimize the impact of these risks.
So, whether you are planning a peaceful island vacation, venturing to a far corner of the world, or traveling for work, be sure to review the following travel safety tips:
Before you leave…
Research your destination accordingly
In between planning hotel stays and tourist stops, take some time to look up safety information for your destination. The U.S. Department of State website provides specific information for every country in the world, where it informs the public of any conditions that might impact their safety abroad. The risks are calculated on the travel advisory scale below.
Familiarize yourself with transportation options in your destination, and research hotels thoroughly. Look up the best hospital in the area. Basically, you want to address these points preemptively, so that you don’t have to flounder for information in the moment if things start to take a turn for the worse.
Secure your valuables
Before departing on your trip, make sure that you leave any non-essential valuables at home and contact your local post office to put a hold on mail delivery. Make copies of your travel documents (front and back) in the event that they are lost or stolen while you’re abroad. If you save these copies in secure cloud storage, it can assist you in recovery.
Plan for your health
Take the time to research the health and hygiene conditions of the region you plan to visit. Is the water potable? Do you need any vaccinations or prescriptions?
When you arrive…
Don’t use public WiFi
While it may be tempting to connect to public WiFi, it’s something that should be avoided, especially if you are traveling for work. Open networks lack security, and as a result they open a simple path for malicious entities to gain access to a device. Sometimes, even, hackers will set up unsecured wifi hotspots to tempt people into connecting to them, giving the thief access to the information on your phone or computer.
You can address this by using password-protected wifi networks or connecting to a personal hotspot via Bluetooth. Additionally, you can use a VPN to provide another layer of protection.
Learn common travel scams
Often, tourists are singled out for theft or scams because of their vulnerability and potential for affluence. Wherever you travel, you will always find people who devise creative ways to trick you out of your cash, and often these vary country by country. You can find an infographic of some common scams here.
Keep a low profile
The more that you stand out in any place, the more you brand yourself as someone who is unfamiliar with the location, and thus vulnerable. Whether it is through your clothes or manner, try to keep a low-profile to avoid any unwanted attention.
You don’t have to catastrophize every possible disaster, but it is important to at least practice basic safety. In that, you can mitigate the impact of these threats, and be on your way to enjoying your travels abroad.
This article was written by Kristina Weber of Centry Ltd. For any questions or comments, feel free to contact us on any of our social media platforms.
The European Union regards human trafficking as one of the most heinous violations against human rights. Efforts to address this complex issue have been a primary focus for EU strategies on national and international levels.
Among other findings in a country-by-country statistical analysis on human trafficking in the period of 2010-2012,Eurostat reported in 2015 that 80% of the registered victims were female, more than 1,000 children were trafficked, and over 70% of traffickers were male. It should be noted that not all 28 EU Member States were able to provide data, and the statistics are based on the small amount of information available from registered sources. As a result, there is certainly more that goes on undocumented.
However, one particular finding noted that among non-EU states, Nigeria was over-represented
in both the statistics of both victims and traffickers. In the 3-year course of the study, it was found that of the registered victims with non-EU citizenships, there were 1,322 registered victims from Nigeria, as compared to the next highest non-EU state, Brazil, with 537 registered victims. The most frequently reported non-EU citizenship of suspected traffickers over the course of the reference period was also Nigeria, with 299 individuals.
The International Response
The U.S. Department of State has classified Nigeria’s human trafficking narrative as Tier 2: Watchlist on a scale of 1-3 in their 2017 human trafficking report. This means that the government of Nigeria does not fully meet the minimum standards for elimination of trafficking. There are challenges present where some elements of Nigerian Security Forces (NSF) were found to have used children as young as 12 in support roles, and the Nigerian military conducted on-the-ground coordination with the CJTF, which includes non-governmental militias that recruit and use children in support roles, and possibly unwillingly. Furthermore, government officials were found to be involved in sexual exploitation of Borno State women and girls that were displaced by Boko Haram.
That said, Nigeria is making a significant effort to improve. Efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers in Nigeria are remarkable, as well as conducting anti-trafficking training for law enforcement officials, however the growth is slow-going, with limited increases in efforts compared to the previous reporting period.
Picture 1. NAPTIP & Finland sign MoU to collaborate in curbing trafficking in 2017 (Accessed March 2018)
One such anti-trafficking organization in Nigeria is the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), which recently made headlines when Europol put outa statement detailing how Spanish police forces in cooperation with NAPTIP and UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) dismantled a Nigerian organized crime ring that had trafficked victims to Europe through Libya and Italy. Among their efforts was a block on bank accounts that laundered more than 300k euros for the crime ring, leading to 89 arrests and the liberation of 39 victims.
The crime network was found to be connected to the Eiye Confraternity (Air Lords), one the most influential campus cult originated gangs in Nigeria. It operates in clandestine groups worldwide, funding the confraternity in Nigeria through both legal and illegal activities.
Campus Cults in Nigeria
Campus cults represent a widespread gang and organized crime problem in Nigeria, as many post-secondary institutions have confraternities. The majority of these cult groups are involved in organized crime. Recruitment is sometimes involuntary, and the initiation rites involve assault to varying degrees. Some of the cults operate their business with a secret membership model and some of them dominate streets openly. At peak, tens of murders have been connected monthly to confraternity related violence. The Nigerian democracy is relative new, and amongst the former and current cult members are local politicians and other influential members of society. According to some sources, politicians have been known to have used the gangs as their private armies, and the cults have hadactive roles in the nation’s internal conflicts.
The Eiye Confraternity is very active in social media, utilizing it to give voice to their opinions and in fact openly using platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp for coordination purposes.
Picture 2. Screenshot of a FB page voicing support for EIYE confraternity (Accessed Mar 2018)
Global Business Response
To address the crime of human trafficking, companies have been complementing their due diligence processes with human rights impact assessments and taking relevant related risks in consideration for their existing assessments and processes. This is typically done in compliance with international guidelines such as the United Nations’ Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights via implementing the“Protect, Respect, and Remedy” Framework. However, new national-level legislations, such as theFrench Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law, are starting to make human rights duty of care a mandatory compliance for global supply chains. With regard to the issue at hand, global enterprises will be duty-bound to do whatever is in their power to ensure their supply chain isn’t exploited for human trafficking purposes.
This article was written by Investigator Oskar Savolainen and Content Supervisor Kristina Weber of Centry Global. For any questions or comments on the above material, please feel free to contact us @CentryLTD on Twitter or on any of our other social media platforms!